2020 was the year nobody could have predicted, with travel patterns and guest expectations having changed beyond recognition, thanks to the global spread of COVID. Let’s make 2021 the year we put our learnings into action; it’s time to leave the historical processes behind as we redefine what it means to travel and connect with guests, using technology to attract, build and strengthen relationships.
What does guest demand look like in 2021?
A whole new era of travelers have emerged on the back of COVID, booking last-minute and domestic-fuelled getaways in quieter, crowd-free areas. Staycation booms have been particularly noticeable in areas close to nature and beaches, with those that can travel feeling safer exploring locally than venturing overseas. Those who are no longer restrained by physical offices are using their remote freedom to take a ‘workation,’ seeking longer stays in properties that boast good views, stable internet, and homely amenities. Others are craving local experiences, free from tourists and off the beaten path.
Embracing technology to effectively capture demand
Catching the attention of these travelers requires a more personal and tailored approach. Mass marketing and generic up-sells will no longer hit the mark; it’s all about repositioning your services and fine-tuning your offering to meet the dominating needs of modern guests.
That’s where your PMS comes in; diving into past guest data will uncover their habits, preferences and booking behavior, helping you paint a clearer picture of their motives and desires. From there, you can up-level your offering to something more attuned to their needs, reaching them with targeted email marketing, active social media promotion and curated up-selling via your internet booking engine.
Redefining your marketing strategy
Taking a more digital-centric approach to marketing will help elevate your brand among a sea of competitors. Over the last year, guests have grown even more accustomed to fast technology, online communication and rapid responses, particularly during long stints of lockdowns, which means you’ll need to keep your finger on the pulse to deliver at the pace they now expect.
Make a lasting impression across your social channels
Social media is more significant than ever and is a key marketing channel for building trust and nurturing relationships with guests, both past and prospective. Make a positive impression by engaging with guests, answering queries and creating FOMO (the fear of missing out) across your social channels. You can essentially use these avenues for free advertising, exposing your brand and local attractions to your guests’ connections who are looking to share similar experiences, boosting direct business through recommendations.
With pre-pandemic strategies now outdated and guests’ needs continuing to fluctuate with changing travel conditions, creating and maintaining strong connections has never been more crucial. By utilizing your property management system, you can tailor marketing material to complement individuals rather than marketing en masse, refine your offering to reflect shifts in travel purpose and generate tailored up-sell opportunities to boost your revenue.
About the author
Zen Valli is the VP of Sales and Marketing for UK/EU at RMS Cloud. Check out RMS Cloud’s full trends and challenges report for further insight and advice about guest behavior in 2021.